Hotel chef that serves with a smile recognized as ‘outstanding ambassador’

Charlotte’s tourism and hospitality industry has successfully bounced back after the hardships brought on by the pandemic.

In 2022, hotel demand in Uptown Charlotte for leisure travel was up 130% over pre-pandemic numbers and up 154% for group or convention-related travel. In addition, Mecklenburg County hit its highest annual total hotel revenue ever at $887 million.

A group of the people and businesses that helped support the growth and recovery were honored last week, including one worker Your704′s Elsa Gillis recently met.

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Over the course of 15 years, Wanda Grady has been smiling and singing her way through the early morning breakfast service at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Uptown where she’s the omelette chef.

Grady’s positive attitude has not gone unnoticed by coworkers, hotel guests (her name is all over reviewed on TripAdvisor), or the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, who recently recognized her as “Outstanding Ambassador” at its annual Partners in Tourism Awards.

“It’s a beautiful hotel. Everybody is wonderful to me, I’m wonderful to everybody … You couldn’t ask for nothing more in your life,” Grady said.

Her coworker Harvey Johnson says Grady is a bright part of each person’s day.

“Every day, she’s like that every day,” Johnson said. “She has been like that for the last 13 years that we have been working together, she’s always the same. Regardless of what she’s going through, and of course we go through different things in life, she does a fantastic job.”

Grady believes it’s important to be kind to others because you never know what someone is going through.

“It’s important because it helps uplift people,” she said. “There’s people that travel through these hotels because someone’s at the hospital … there’s so many different reasons that bring you here.”

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